Monday, August 19, 2013

DAY 16-17: Sandusky, OH to Washington, DC

Clear sunshine and clean air greeted me in the morning, much to my dismay as there was rain in the forecast. Being a stones throw away from Lake Eerie made for a good stroll before a wash in the KOA shower. First night I set up my tent on this trip so far, and it only took me 45 minutes to re-pack my life and bungee it on the sissy bar.
I left for the gas station and saw Sandusky for the first time in the daylight. Cedar Point is an amusement park boasting so the best rollercoasters in the east. This area of town is nice and neat and dotted with good eats at unique restaurants. Besides that, the place is pretty ghetto. Rode a coastal road out of here before someone tried to mug me and jumped on the Ohio turnpike. 10 dollars in tolls and a lot of boring interstate and I was glad to be out of Ohio. Hello Pennsylvania! Hope the Amish Mafia can handle me.

 Caught the sunset in Pennsylvania right before I crossed into Maryland. These smog-less sunsets kill it out east here! Before I could talk to a Jebediah or Abraham trotting home from the fields on a horse and buggy, I was already in DC before too late. A friend from back home Jessica hooked me up with a welcome party and a warm bed in her and her friends dorm. I dropped quick from the long ride and a drink, but woke up early to rain on my uncovered bike. Is it a covered motorcycle, or a meth lab from outer space? Look at the pic and you decide.
Jessica went off to work, and I planned on staying up and attacking my day in this new attractive city! So much historic architecture to see! I went back to bed and woke up at 12:30. Oops. Once Jessica was off, we had a quick meal and coffee and took the subway to the National Mall. It was a day of discovery monument rousting in the home of our bad-ass founding fathers, with a pretty little tour guide to show me around to the best spots.


 The Vietnam Vets Memorial was my favorite by far. It was small and wasn't crowded with unappreciative tourists, and my T-shirt was well received. The vibe it let off was a powerful one, even before I saw this old vet from the war wiping crosses on each panel as he wept. Few things make me choke up, but this was one of them. As much as this country is jacked up with shady politicians and politics that divides us more than unite us, running around and tasting the history this place had to offer made me proud to be in the country that I am. It also gave me an updated sense of appreciation for those who protect my freedom to hop on my motorcycle and drive to where this country began.

 After some dinner at Five Guys, we left to hop on the subway to head back to Jessica's dorm. Soon enough after we started our walk, a rain of apocalyptical proportions hit us. Good thing we had a plastic bag for her so she wouldn't get too soaked. Me? I'm wearing board shorts and probably won't get another chance to play in the rain in Washington DC again. It was a wet train ride home, but well worth it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

DAY 12-15 Chicago, IL to Lansing, MI to Sandusky, OH

Sometimes owning a Harley can be a hassle. HD should stand for Hundred Dollars sometimes due to parts, fixing things, maintenance, ect. Let alone the women. They always want rides. Ugh.
 Chicago love from the cuz Chris and crew was phenomenal. Can't remember when I felt that welcome anywhere! Much needed too, Chicago traffic and toll booths made me realize why the Blackhawk were so good at preventing the Kings from getting to their goals; 2 hours  and 10 bucks for me to get out of town. Once I rounded the lake, Michigan gave me 80mph traffic, and just after dark I was in Lansing. I lived here with my older bro Mike in high school for 3 years, so returning when I'm an adult with a faster bicycle to get around was nice jog down Memory Lane.

 After a long day of riding and a couple hours of catching up with Mike and his wife Nicole, the floor made the most comfortable bed ever. I rose early and took advantage of the couple days time I had here to go buy some oil and change it out. I may not be eating well on this trip, but the bike has been treating me well, so she gets synthetic for dinner. the guys at the shop use it in their double Shovel drag bike, so it must be good.

With an oil and filter run complete, I wanted to explore my early high school home and see if I hated this place as much as I did back then. Not at all, but I was hating this neat burn from the exhaust.
 I only did one organized sport in high school: boxing. Being a foreigner in Michigan left me without too many friends, and teen angst didn't make me the most sociable kid ever. Football was out of the question, but I wasn't about to sit around after school. I don't talk about it much, but while here for 2 years, I got a state championship and a few TKO's from learning to throw and take punches from awesome coaches and any older dude I could talk smack to so they would spar with me. Not to mention a lot of confidence, self-esteem, and not so hot of a teenage temper.
 Fish ladder. This city boy knows how to bait a leech because of this place.
 Insane Clown Posse sucks and so do juggalos, but Faygo is pretty damn tasty. For a little soda company out of Detroit, they make really good cheap soda in unique flavors.
 Something else tasty was the steak my first girlfriends family cooked me. Kayla may be crazy and obsessed with knives if you can't tell, but her and her family are awesome and made me feel at home big time. We all swapped stories over a Lions game and talked late into the night, until I darted outside and chased lightning bugs. I guess I haven't changed much since 9th grade.
 Back down the road to my brother Mikes place. He has a trail out back of his house, and wild black berries grow all over by the train tracks.

 Time for an oil change. Simple right? Not when your oil filter is basically welded on from 4000 miles of heating and cooling. Never fear, a little bit of road ingenuity will take you a long way. Or maybe that's my way of saying my dumbass ideas somehow managed to work. Sorry about the mess, Mike!

 Spending some years growing up with my bro Mike and his wife Nicole really grew me into the man I am today. Mike installs floors for a living and has the craziest work ethic you'll ever see. Being his helper throughout the years starting in elementary school, I learned a lot about hard work and where it will take you. I also learned how to superglue stitch worthy cuts so we wouldn't have to leave the jobsite, to give you an idea. Y'all saved my ass growing up, and I love you guys more than I can ever say in person. More than your dog loves to attack my raccoon tail...

Got a late start on my departure day, but once I crossed into Ohio I caught a good sunset while filling up gas. Got to Sandusky and found a KOA right on Lake Eerie. Flirted with the check-in girlie and got a discount on my site. I guess "You should give me a discount because I'm from California" is a good line to use? Just kidding, its my hair. Put the saved money into fire wood and a couple beers, both of which I had to earn by just trying to transporting them back to camp.

DAY 10-11: Sioux Falls, SD to Cedar Falls, IA to Chicago, IL

Blogging this adventure has been a wonderful way to organize and document my memories made along the way as well as be able to share them with friends and family and beyond. Hell, living vicariously through Dallas has never been easier! But flat out they take too much time when you're doing 10+ hours on the road then going out and making stories. From here on out I'll be clumping days together so I can keep y'all updated at a more reasonable pace, and still be able to go out and rage like our fore-fathers on their fore-choppers did.

Started the day by folding my blankets and picking up my new friends' living room the best I could. Best I could do for them after they rained drinks on me and kept me from getting rained on by mother nature. Checked oil and air, marveled at my lost highway peg from the day before, and it was time to split.

 The drive through Iowa was again corny for miles on end, but at least this time there were some little rivers and streams I'd ride a bridge over. These longer stretches give me time to clear my head and enjoy being in the open. Riding on open road with no traffic but that of a Mid-West breeze provides a sense of freedom that you don't see too much of living in LA. Loud, fast, tank stands, and skid marks are fun and all, but so is just cruising, watching, and feeling the land around you without having to worry about traffic or whatnot. Long thoughts made the 300 mile ride breeze by, and before I could notice the humidity, I was talking to my dads old pal Roland in Cedar Rapids who found me on the almighty FB a couple years back. He and his wife hooked me up with a big steak and potato dinner, and Roland told me stories of my pop that I never knew before, and how I would run away a lot when I was too young to remember. Probably makes sense why I'm cross country going solo. I don't talk much about growing up and whatnot, but talking with him was a nice reminder of how where I came from, both metaphorically and geography. Some chit chat in the morning and I was Chicago bound! But wait, is that the National Motorcycle Museum?

Long story short, those were some of the greatest motorcycles I've ever seen. I could have come here and gone home and still have had a great trip. The American Pickers live about 60 miles away, and come in there quite often. Off across the Mississippi, but not before I found out the hard way that lane splitting in corn country is frowned upon. The angry glare from a single finger waving inbred farm hand proved both this, and his IQ.

 My cousin Chris from down by San Diego was with his girlfriend Alice in Chicago, so they offered me a bed at her parents house. Chicago pizza topped off the ride, and we went hopping around the city shortly after. Downtown Chicago was pretty epic with lots of unique architecture. After climbing a lion statue, Officer Frankindouche called me off and asked me where I was from. "CALIFORNIA!" "FIGURES!" he harped back in a typical chunky Chicago cop voice before he squeeled to "GET OUTTA HEA!" Night Complete.